Louisiana Tech (11-12) at Utah State (12-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 9th, 9:05 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: D.G. Smith Spectrum (10,270) -- Logan, Utah. Television: Altitude 2, ESPN Regional. Home Record: LaTech 7-4, USU 10-2. Away Record: LaTech 3-7, USU 2-10. Neutral Record: LaTech 1-1, USU 0-0. Conference Record: LaTech 3-5, USU 4-5. Series Record: Utah State leads, 13-2.
GAME NOTES: The Utah State Aggies try to avoid their first three-game slide of the 2011-12 campaign, as they take the floor against Western Athletic Conference foe Louisiana Tech, tonight in Logan.
One of the most dominant teams in the WAC the last several years, the Aggies find themselves with a mere 12-12 record overall at the moment and just 4-5 in league play after bowing to Fresno State at the Save Mart Center last Saturday, 60-54. Since putting together a four-game win streak in late December, USU has won a total of just four games in 11 chances.
As for the Bulldogs, currently sixth in the conference standings at 3-5, they were charged with their second straight loss last Saturday when they suffered an 83-72 setback against New Mexico State at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces. LaTech is just 3-7 in true road games this season, while the Aggies have won 10 of their 12 home dates thus far.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Aggies are in complete control with 13 wins in 15 opportunities. USU, which is 6-0 at home in the series, has won five straight regardless of venue, including the first meeting this season, 69-65, last month in Ruston.
Raheem Appleby scored a career-high 30 points, shooting 10-of-19 from the floor over the course of 40 minutes, but still he couldn't get the Bulldogs into the win column versus NMSU on the road. Kenyon McNeail added 17 points and Cordarius Johnson 16 to go along with his team-best nine rebounds. Appleby, who has held at least a share of the scoring lead for the Bulldogs in four of the last five games, is producing 14.2 ppg now that Louisiana Tech knows that he can be a streaky scorer for the program. Trevor Gaskins (10.5 ppg) and Johnson (10.3 ppg) have also shown signs of being significant pieces of the offensive puzzle for the Bulldogs, but this is still a team that is shooting just 40.7 percent from the field and 63.2 percent at the charity stripe.
Taking care of the ball was critical in the meeting with Fresno State last weekend as the Aggies fumbled the ball away 16 times, while the Bulldogs were charged with a mere three miscues which allowed them to get away with just 38.9 percent shooting from the floor. Preston Medlin and Morgan Grim both tallied 13 points for the visitors, followed by Brockeith Pane with 11 points, but he also turned the ball over six times while issuing only three assists. With his 15.2 ppg, Medlin leads the team in scoring and has reached double digits in all but one of the last 12 games, putting up nine in that particular outing. In addition to being a key passer with 71 assists, Medlin has also been able to pull down 4.0 rpg while connecting on 54 three-point attempts. Outside of Medlin, the Aggies don't have any other viable perimeter threats which is a huge difference from previous years.
Being back at home should get the Aggies recharged for the final few weeks of the regular season, and even if this USU squad falls short of the lofty achievements of previous teams, a win tonight should still be in the cards.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 68, Louisiana Tech 63
02/09 10:33:38 ET